The KaZam balance bike may sound familiar because it recently appeared on the television show Shark Tank. Prior to the show, it was already a well-known product with international success in Australia, Japan, Singapore, Europe, and Canada. With so many options available in the market – both wooden and steel, what separates it from the competition?
The KaZam is a very good choice that offers durability and quality to the rider. With a steel frame all around that weighs at a hefty 11.2 pounds, the KaZam is one of the heavier bikes in the group. The weight may make it difficult for younger riders to handle but older or stronger toddlers still should have no trouble. This weight could be the reason that it is recommended for the 3 to 6 year old age group. This is a different marketing approach as the current trend seems to target the 18 month old and 5 year old demographic. Taking another step out of the crowd, the KaZam is built with a patented footrest.
KaZam is a U.S. based company originally founded by Mary Beth Lugo. Her appearance on Shark Tank earned her a $300,000 capital from investors Barbara Corcoran and Mark Cuban.
The sections that follow look at some of the main features included and break down their importance.
At 11.2 pounds, it is one of the heavier ones available. It it built using steel for its frame and handlebars and therefore as a result it is a little heavier than most of its competition. In comparison, the Strider ST4 weighs only 6.5 lbs. Due to the weight, it is recommended for older and taller children from the ages of 3 to 5. Most balance bikes try to market the entire 18 month to 6 year old demographic, so they have separated themselves by targeting a specific age group.
The patented footrest is incorporated into the frame. Perfectly placed at the center base of the bike, the rider can place his, or her, feet at a natural position. Furthermore, it does not interfere with the rider’s running room – which is the typical drawback of footrests.
Some have argued that the presence of a footrest can be a disadvantage to the rider. It may not hinder the rider from developing balance and coordination, but it may slow down the beginner’s progress. The availability of the footrest has encouraged some beginner riders to use the bike as a scooter rather than for balancing. However, more experienced riders will find the footrest a convenient feature.
Tires and Wheels
The bike uses standard 12” pneumatic rubber tires. These tires have a smooth tread pattern which should provide a comfortable ride on paved surfaces. It could slip on more difficult terrains however, but more than likely you won’t be taking a toddler learning to these types of areas. For additional safety, the bolts on the front and rear wheels are covered.
Both the height of the seat and handlebars are adjustable. The seat has a minimum height of 14 inches, and a maximum height of 17.5 inches. The handlebars can be lowered to 19.75 inches and as high as 22.50 inches and can move slightly forward and backward as well. Conveniently, the quick release clamps make it very easy to adjust both seat and handles without the use of tools.
Initially, this model was sold without brakes, but by popular demand were eventually sold with their inclusion. The company offers the consumer to choose whether or not they’d like to pick up a model with or without them. Models with brakes are around $20 more than the original price.
Similar to footrests, consumers have varying opinions to the effectiveness of brakes. Some view it as a necessary safety feature, while others do not. Generally, most manufacturers refrain from adding brakes into their design. However, some companies offer brake kits as an add-on part.
Consumers purchasing this model can be rest assured that the product meets industry safety standards. The company ensures their product is safe for children by proactively conducting safety tests. They also ensure their products use non-toxic chemicals.
- It comes with a patented design footrest. It is strategically placed so that it does not interfere with the rider’s running room. Additionally, it allows the rider to place his, or her, feet at a comfortable and natural position. The footrest feature makes it unique when comparing other models in the market.
- Offering two versions of the KaZam (one with and one without brakes) opens itself up to a wider group of consumers.
- Quick release clamps make it easy to adjust the seat height and handlebars without needing any tools.
- The 12″ steel frame makes the KaZam a durable model that can be passed on to several children in the family.
- Smooth tread on tires are not ideal for non-paved surfaces as they could possibly slip.
- The heavy weight makes it difficult for little riders to handle.
Like most models we have reviewed, the KaZam delivers on the main goal of what it is supposed to do. It helps develop the child’s balance and coordination skills and in addition is durable due to its high quality design. With a great backing from industry leaders it makes a great choice if you think the balance bike is the way to go.